USA TODAY projection: 33-49
The Lakers have been treading water the last three seasons, impatiently waiting for somebody to throw them a life vest. Can they finally turn it around?
What’s different this season? The Lakers failed to land any big-name superstars during free agency but helped improve the team in a variety of other ways. They selected D’Angelo Russell with the No.2 overall pick in the draft and signed Roy Hibbert, Brandon Bass and Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams. Not only that, but Kobe Bryant and Julius Randle, the No. 7 overall pick from 2014, will be back from injuries.
How good they can be? This lineup is a bit tricky. The Lakers have a lot of talent on the roster, but the mesh of young players with colorful personalities could lead to another season to forget in L.A.
How far they have to go: Hibbert needs to not go down the same road as former Lakers bigs Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum; guards Jabari Brown, Jordan Clarkson, Nick Young and Russell must remember that the Lakers are Kobe’s team; and Williams and…